Small business owners are prone to a yearly philosophical check in – or let’s be real – a yearly panic attack. As the owner of a portrait photography business with one employee (yes, that’s me), I have found myself each February with a deeply furrowed brow, fully engrossed in small business blogs, tutorials, webinars, and more. I wonder, how do I grow this business? Do I want to grow? Am I really offering what people want? What’s my plan? These fundamental questions flood my brain until I am frozen and unable to get anything done.
So I watch the online business gurus with ginormous social media followings. I become one of their followers. The gurus wag their fingers from their perfectly crafted Instagrams and tell me that what I need is….an email list. Wait? What? That’s it? Spam my customers? Nobody wants that. It smells of telemarketing which is why I love that “block caller” feature on my phone.
What the gurus actually advocate is something very different from spam. Phew! The gurus want business owners to succeed by “servicing” clients through email lists. And they actually have amazing ideas on just how to do that.
Create free downloads
Write an ebook
Host a webinar or podcast
Host contests that build community
Make a fun online quiz
Share beautiful photos with heartfelt social media posts
Provide subscriber-only content in a newsletter
Communicate with quality and consistency
Wow. Those are great ideas that could literally take every. waking. moment. I. have. in. life. Who exactly would be left to run the business and do the work? Who creates the products and services that actually make money? This is when it feels appropriate to cover my eyes with my hands and fantasize about how it might just be easier to work for someone else.
I realize that I have set up quite a problem. Thank goodness, it’s not a problem without a solution.
Once you recognize the value of email lists as a way to create a community of subscribers that is truly yours to keep, there is no going back. It is absolutely worth the time to make it happen…but you may need help. Sit down and figure out your strengths and capabilities beyond the business you have created. Then sit down and figure out what your weaknesses are. If you are not already a photographer-copywriter-email-platform whiz, then it’s time to consider investing in a local professional.
There are people who actually love and “get” social media. There are people who can write that newsletter or white paper or even just the subscriber landing page. They know about email campaigns and can wordsmith to reflect your ideal image. There are people who are able to create the content that fits your vision and that should ultimately pay for itself.
As a photographer, I have been privileged to help entrepreneurs, small businesses and non-profits with fresh headshots and images to fill websites and newsletters with content that is intentionally crafted and enticing. No more lackluster Instagram grids! As a copywriter, I have written impactful newsletters, thank you letters, annual reports, website content, guest articles for local publications, press releases, and more. I can evaluate where you are now with your social media and online presence to figure out the ideal strategy for growing your business with the right audience.
I am a firm believer in the power of email lists for just about every business that I can imagine. But, it’s okay as a small business owner to say “I ain’t got time for that” and hand it over to a professional. I do what I love, so that my clients can get back to doing what they love.
My good friend has an AMAZING home in Oregon’s wine country. And….
Is. WAS. For. SALE.
It was a blast to take on the challenge of framing up this beautiful space with my camera for their listing.
This home and acreage wasn’t on the market long. The property is a quick drive to town and a hop, skip and a jump to wine tasting at Blakeslee Vineyard among about a gazillion other tasting rooms scattered over the neighboring hills. The yard is something out of Better Homes & Gardens…an oasis of shade in the summer. I have used the backyard for multiple photo shoots. Want a a bird’s eye view of the “grounds?” Check out this super drone footage produced by Visual Concepts Northwest.
Seniors – your joy is contagious – graduation is soooo close!
It was amazing to spend a few hours with each of my Class of 2018 clients. So now with my heartfelt congratulations I cannot resist sharing one more peek at your glorious faces. But before I do, it is the season of celebration but also when adults feel compelled to share words of wisdom…so here are mine…
“You can’t miss your boat. It’s yours. It stays docked till you’re ready. The only boat you can miss is someone else’s.” – Glennon Doyle
Check back as I continue to add more faces of the Class of Twenty Eighteen. Or watch Instagram and Facebook for daily posts as these almost graduates make room for the Class of 2019 (which is starting to book now – just saying). And don’t miss my Love Your Photos Newsletter. It’s full of monthly advice whether you are behind or in front of the camera. You can read the first edition and sign up to receive the next one here
Band photo days never disappoint. I’ve been taking them for a number of years now so now the kids are ready for me. They have often planned, coordinated and schemed what to do in the “goofy” shot. I just set myself up on a ladder and capture the friends, fun and memories. I love to reflect on some of these shots as I’m taking some of their senior portraits in what feels like just a few minutes later.
And the bonus? These photo days are a fundraiser for the Band Boosters. For the 2017-2018 school year we have raised nearly $900. Yes!
Are you in the Sherwood area and interested in a fun photo fundraiser for your team, school or organization? I’d love to hear from you.
Senior parents! Clutch your hearts and take a deep breath.
It’s about that time to think GRADuation Announcements. I know. It will be okay. Just breathe.
Pricing and ordering information is coming soon to you inbox. I am super excited to get creative and help you mark this amazing moment in your senior’s life.
The Class of Twenty Seventeen is about to GRADUATE. I am so excited for the seniors, my son included, to close this chapter and begin to define their futures. Our futures. The future of the world. It is a big job ahead and everyone is wanting to give you advice and know your plans. I know, right?
My advice – yes, even I have some – comes in three little words that I stole from the brilliant Neil Gaiman…
Trust Your Story
You have the tools, the intelligence and the character to make what you want out of your life. Don’t wait for that ship to come in. Go build it.
Thank you to the seniors who trusted me to capture this amazing year for them. That is a gift I treasure.
Portland’s Japanese American Historical Plaza is a scene of riotous beauty every spring. Fluffy, light-filled cherry blossom stretch along the city’s waterfront begging lovers to smooch and dance and celebrate the season hand in hand. The plaza is a spectacular stage for engagement portraits. Can you think of a more romantic scene in the Pacific Northwest for couple’s photography? Please leave a comment and share your ideas as I would love to check them out.